by Katie Fesuk
how to stay cool
when provoked by heat,
to protect the body
that loves it—
all manner of fern, dead
leaves, egg’s passage,
and the color swamps turn at dusk,
their collection of mud turtle and minnow—
that shedding one’s skin
can be done in full view—
no shame in leaving behind
the discarded frame without vanity—
not to punish itself, to unhinge from the opening jaw,
to let the body eat what it needs.
by Katie Fesuk
Milton lasts a lick. He laps Faulkner’s corners, Millay’s earmarked edges.
But he flops One Hundred Years of Solitude like a quail at his feet.
Black typeset and the entrée of Chapter One disappear. He consumes
adobe, parchment, devours prophesy and fire. Had he chewed slippers,
I would have scolded, produced the requisite bone. But I let him savor
García Márquez, hope he’ll howl at manuscripts and chase tropes in his dreams,
legs and muscles twitching after all those pages. Asleep, his muffled yelps
become a beckoning for books, more books, volumes unleashed,
feral and riotous outside their human cages.
by Katie Fesuk
When you kneel next to your friend, her stomach a great dome,
your hand at its side beneath hers, she smiles.
Here, push here, it’s okay. Somewhere below the skin’s globe
and cells and amniotic fluid, a baby moves.
It’s been moving, from early buds of arms and legs
to oar-like wands, orbs of darkening eyes to a discernable iris.
The first move, called quickening, happens after the four chambers
of the heart have formed like seasons:
winter of eyelids, spring of fingers, summer of toes
and thumb-sucking, fall of disappearing tail, boy or girl.
Doctors describe her baby’s size in strange terms: a peppercorn one week.
Next, a kidney bean. It grows to a cherry, a lime, the size of a sweet potato.
You don’t know what it feels like to be kicked from the inside out,
but you grow quiet, wait for baby limb like wing flutter.
You wonder to what orchard your body may spring, through what vineyard,
toward what cherry or avocado tree your body will quicken, and when.
Katie Fesuk is a Massachusetts native and a 2006 Georgia Author of the
Year Award nominee for her chapbook, If Not an Apple, released by La
Vita Poetica Press. She is a doctoral student in English and Creative Writing
at Georgia State University, a teacher, and Poet in Residence at The Walker
School. In 2004, she served as Creative Writer in Residence at the
Kennesaw Mountain Writing Project, and her poems can be found in Slant,
Chattahoochee Review, Water~Stone, Rock & Sling, No Tell Motel,
Atlanta Review, Kennesaw Review, and Wicked Alice, among others.
Fesuk was a 2007 finalist in the Agnes Scott College Writer’s Festival.
On “Waiting for Limes”:
Feeling a baby move inside a friend’s body is mysterious and humbling,
especially for someone who hasn’t had a child but senses the future
possibility like a dream. “Waiting for Limes” is a tribute to our bodies
and those women, my friends, who related progressing fetus size to
fruits and vegetables for me. On a beach in South Carolina a few
weeks after sending this poem, I shared with my husband the good
news that we, too, were expecting a family. Less than one hour earlier,
we’d learned that my beloved Aunt Esther in Massachusetts had passed.
The week I received Apple Valley Review’s acceptance, our baby was
literally the size of a lime . . . my faith in coincidence dwindles each day.
This is for Esther, with love.
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On Discovering My Dog
Prefers Gabriel García
Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary
Volume 2, Number 2
Copyright © 2007
by Leah Browning, Editor.
All future rights to material
published in the Apple
Valley Review are retained
by the individual authors
A Snake Knows
Waiting for Limes